Anime Boston tends to be one of those conventions I’m always worried about prior to my arrival. The Hynes center is difficult to navigate, programming can be mixed, and there are always some bad apple attendees. However, Anime Boston is not a convention made up of its faults, rather it is a convention that strives to improve every year. This duality of good and bad builds up my nerves prior to the event and yet nearly every year I can think of this convention has been an overall good experience. Last year I couldn’t make it to the convention and thus I came in this year with more worries, but like in years past Anime Boston continued to strive to be a better event.
One of the biggest challenges that Anime Boston faces every year is the location. The Hynes Convention Center is centrally located, but it has an odd layout and the connection to the mall can make the security lines problematic. This year they put the security lines in the center so that lines did not cut off hallways or scatter outside. The rooms were in their same locations as previous years so making your way around is easier if you have attended in the past. The staff made good use of the space and getting in and out was a bit easier than previous years. One of the drawbacks of the location is that the mall got rid of the old food court and the other food options will fill up really quick. This is an event where bringing your own lunch might be the best choice.
The panel line up his year was weak. While there were some panels I really liked, more than half the time I went into a panel and found it either poorly run or the difficult to navigate convention center made the host late. While there were some great panels that I saw and in some cases missed, it feels like there needs to be some higher standards with the panel scheduling because quantity does not beat quality. Despite the host quality, the tech staff really seemed to have their gear ready to go as any technical problems that any presenter had were solved almost immediately. If you aren’t much of a panel hopper the game room, Anime Boston museum, and video rooms can provide quite the distraction especially since the video rooms show off rare AMVs and new movies.
As always the dealer hall and artist alley were packed this year. The artist alley had small aisles making the packed room even more difficult to navigate, but this was compounded with the fact that the artist alley is one of the two ways to enter the convention center so as long as the artist alley is open the room always had foot traffic. The dealer hall on the other hand didn’t face those kinds of issues. The aisles were nicely spaced and there was plenty of room for those looking for some rare anime merch. I didn’t pick up anything, but a few things did catch my eye. Surprisingly there was a swap meet and people were legitimately trading items in hopes of getting that rare Sonic plush or missing DVD from their collection. That little room was perhaps the most fun I’ve had shopping just because of the odd assortment of items and great deals. I hope they continue the swap meet because I’d love to bring some things I’m trying to get rid of as well (especially if I can trade them for some hard to find Lupin manga volumes).
One of the things that sets Anime Boston apart is that the vibe can be a little weird. While there are plenty of rude people who will push you out of the way or stand in the middle of the hallway in high traffic areas there are just as many good people who were taught proper manners. In some past years cosplayers have had problematic attitudes, but this year most of them seemed fine. I attended the Saturday Metal Gear photoshoot and my friends attended several other photoshoots and we all have positive stories about those gatherings. Even security had a better attitude this year making this a more comfortable event. That being said, I did run into some very immature adults and one person hit me in the face while getting his camera ready in the middle of a walkway. Overall, the vibe is good, but people are horrible and that can sour the event significantly.
The main reason why I came out to Boston was to be in my city again and this convention just happened to be a bonus. There was very little this year to get me hyped up for the event, but not because the event looked bad on paper. It was more of the point that my personal focus was not on the convention. I went in with an open mind and while my experience was overall a positive one there were some problems. These mostly stem from other people, the location, and some terrible panels. Anime Boston can do very little for the first two, but I can only hope that the programming staff took notes about how panels were run because some people had no idea what they were doing and shouldn’t have been up there in the first place. While I do consider this event more of a vacation, I may have to run panels next year just to prevent those with no ability from polluting the schedule. I am looking forward to next year and I am very happy I went this year because while this event may have flaws it does remind me that good anime conventions do exist. Thank you to everyone who made this such a memorable trip and until next time give my love to Vault 111.
1. Back in my Town
2. I really need to play some Fallout 4
3. And Assassin’s Creed 3
4. And watch The Departed
5. And continue binging Cheers
6. Insert additional Boston themed movie/video game
7. Last minute cosplay choices
8. The Metal Gear Photoshoot was great
9. Loved the new notebook
10. Next Cosplay: The Flash
11. Run, run , run
12. Oh man, that Boston food
13. Where’s Legal Seafoods?
14. The Two Towers
15. Everyone loves the Parrot
16. RE:15- Might do both MGS photoshoots next year
17. And a Final Fantasy shoot, why not?
18. Note to self: Bring cash
19. I got to plan out my con run a little tighter next year
20. Not to mention I need to run panels again
21. There is too much to do at AB
22. Samurai theme? IN!
23. It rained again
24. It’s always harder to leave
25. Should have picked up that one thing
26. Thankfully food was never an issue
27. Wrote this whole thing while listening to VG music